Rough week for the Lady Grizz, but tourney ahead

The Lady Grizz fought hard in an away game on Friday, Dec. 13, against the Tongue River Lady Eagles, but fell short with a loss of 40-33. Coach Eric Honeyman said he was pleased to see them play hard and thought they held up well against the top-ranked team, but he feels they still need to work on reducing their turnovers and on scoring off rebounds.

Mikaela Hocker put in one of her best performances of the season this weekend against Wind River’s Lady Cougars at a game held at RMHS on Saturday afternoon. Patti Carpenter photo
Mikaela Hocker put in one of her best performances of the season this weekend against Wind River’s Lady Cougars at a game held at RMHS on Saturday afternoon.
Patti Carpenter photo

“I thought the girls played really well against Tongue River,” he said. “They are always a well-respected team in 2A. The girls were playing right in there with them until around the three-minute mark. At that point, Tongue River ran a couple of plays where they scored some 3s and we just couldn’t fight back from that. We just could not get any closer from that point on.”

Honeyman noted that the team’s shooting average was only 26 percent, which he thought hurt their chances of winning. He said they would be working on that in practice.

“Our shooting has been our Achille’s heel,” he said.  “We shot 26 percent from the floor and that hurt us. That’s just not quite enough to win most games, especially against a tough team like Tongue River.”

Shauna Loman was the leading scorer with 12, Hannah Winland had 8 and freshman Marissa Arnold had 6.

Honeyman said he thought the team was also a little weak on their rebounds with more than half of the 29 rebounds the team scored grabbed by one player, Kelly Vezain.

“Kelly had 15 rebounds. She played pretty well on the rebounding side but it’s still our biggest weakness right now,” explained Honeyman. “We just can’t seem to get all the girls on the same page getting as many rebounds as possible. That and turnovers is what’s really killing us this season.”

The girls played Wind River at home the following day, falling to the Lady Cougars 62-50 for essentially the same reasons.

“Wind River was another game we lost in turnovers and rebounding,” said Honeyman. “We just couldn’t seem to rebound and the other team was more aggressive. We only scored 7 and 8 points in two quarters, and in the other two quarters we scored 15 and 20. We just can’t play like that anymore. We have to do better than that if we want to win games.”

Honeyman noted 31 turnovers in the  game.

Hannah Winland was the top scorer with 18 points, dazzling local fans with five 3s in a row in the last quarter of the game.

“Hannah gave us 18 points after hitting those five 3s in a row,” said Honeyman. “I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed something like that. That was really exciting.”

He also noted significant contributions from three players in particular.

“Marissa Arnold comes off the bench and plays hard for us and she’s really efficient,” said Honeyman. “Sarah Jones has been our most consistent player so far this year.

“We’re just starting to get Mikaela Hocker going again. The Wind River game was the best game she’s played all year. She had 8 points after going to the free-throw line nine times. She set the tone. I thought she played the best game she played all year.”

Hocker was the second highest scorer with 9 points.

Honeyman noted the tough resolve of the Lady Cougars to come back with a win after losing to the Lady Grizz the week before.

“They wanted to dominate us and they weren’t holding anything back,” said Honeyman.

The girls will take on Ten Sleep at 5:30 at the Rocky Mountain High School gymnasium on Thursday. The game marks the beginning of the Big Horn Basin Classic, which will continue in Lovell all day Friday and Saturday.

“We need to cut our errors on the rebounding, to see our turnovers decrease and put four quarters together,” said Honeyman. “Once we do that, we’ll start winning some games.”

By Patti Carpenter